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Tired of feeling like this joint is unstable or going to give out?

Physical Therapy

By: Kiara Holmes, ATC

Have you ever met someone who complains of knee pain? What about someone who feels like their knee is going to give out when they are walking, pivoting or using the stairs? Is that someone you? Many people suffer with knee pain and feelings of instability, but they just decide to live with it. Maybe they think it might go away or they don’t want to hear any potentially bad news so they put it off. Maybe they just feel like the time and effort it will take to get better isn’t worth it. Whatever the reason: consider this:

Quality of life is important to most people. You want to feel good while doing what you love, or even just what needs to be done. Knee pain can often hinder that. So what’s the cause and what can you do about it?

Although there can be several factors that can lead to knee pain that seems to start out of nowhere, most of the time, knee pain stems from weakness in the core and hip muscles. Those muscles—one important one being the gluteus medius—help to support the body by maintaining good core posture as well as bearing and properly transferring the weight on the lateral side of your body (among other isolated motions). When your hips are weak, that force is then transferred down the leg into the next joint, the knee. The knees are then forced to pick up the slack of the hips and bear a lot of improperly transferred weight—a task the knees weren’t built for. This can put a lot of pressure on ligaments and tendons surrounding the knee and produce pain. Pain begets compensation which begets more pain and so on.

Knee instability stems from hip weakness as well, but may be caused by:

  • Osteoarthritis- a wearing down of the cartilage at the end of the femur and tibia
  • Meniscus Injury- Trauma or degeneration to the cartilaginous disc in the knee that provides shock absorption and stability.
  • Loose surrounding ligaments from previous injury

Each of the conditions listed above are able to be positively affected by physical therapy. We target hip weakness by strengthening those exact muscles as well as those that support and work with them. Meniscus injuries, depending on the severity, can be both conservatively and surgically treated—physical therapy is a necessity for both treatments. Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, however, physical therapy helps to slow the progression of wear and tear by strengthening muscles that support the knee and working on proper mechanics that don’t take a toll on the joints. Chronically loose joints, that don’t require surgery, respond well to physical therapy as well. Training the muscles that support the knee (quads, hamstring, glutes) will provide knee stability that loose structures don’t provide like they used to.

As you can see, dysfunction leads to more dysfunction. Let us evaluate you and give you a great foundation for more functional (and enjoyable) living! Call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300 and CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

 

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